The Glastron Carlson Scimitar: Forward Thinking Design
In the last 30 years of boat design, I am not sure there is one model that is as eye catching and awe inspiring as the Glastron Carlson Scimitar. A scimitar, the word, is a type of sword with a unique design at the tip and rumor has it that Art Carlson crafted the Scimitar boat from a sketch his son did. If there truly was an automotive inspired boat, this is probably the best example of true aesthetics and design inspired by cars in a boat, without being cheesy.
Art Carlson himself is a without exception one of the most gifted and influential boat designers of all time. After some of Carlson’s tunnel and race designs from the early days and his partnership with Glastron in 1969, Art Carlson created some of the most forward thinking V-hull sportboats the industry has ever seen. If one hull stood out from all of them it was the Scimitar, introduced in 1980. With its hard “T-top” type design, channeling corvettes and other sports cars at the time, there was nothing else quite like it. You simply never saw hardtop sportboats and still don’t really, although race canopies are common and commercial boats are often hardtop designs, it’s just so crazy on a small sportboat like the 23 foot Scimitar.
Like many Carlson boats, they were good performers, his V-hulls were typically pretty clean and not too heavy. The Scimitar with a stock 260 HP MerCruiser would do mid 60s, which is incredible. Glastron was early at incorporating different colors in their gelcoat and the different color Scimitars, like blue, green and metallic copper, with the trademark Glastron blade inset on the side just added to the radical styling. Another note is if you get to see one in person, the design of the top and windshield is very sophisticated, way ahead of its time and showcased a very high level of production prowess for a production boat.
Great specs, the Scimitar was a real performer too. Mid 60s with a 260 HP. It won the Powerboat boat of the year.
Glastron was born in Texas, Art Carlson was from California and it was a match made in heaven. Robert Hammond, one of the Glastron founders and Art Carlson have since passed away but they sure set the standard for pushing the envelope on design and innovation in modern fiberglass boats. The Scimitar might be the greatest example.